By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Chris Kelly had been to the Stanley Cup Finals before last season, and he knows what the hangover year is all about.
Kellys Ottowa Senators didnt capture the Cup in 2006-07, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in five games, but Ottawa played all four rounds of the playoffs and was still skating into the month of June.
Kelly played in 20 games that postseason after skating in all 82 regular-season contests, and he knows the potential pitfalls of a short summer and worrying too much about the start to the regular season. During the next season the Senators were under new management and a new head coach when the team of Bryan Murray and John Paddock took over, and Ottawa stormed out the gate with a 23-3 record over the first couple of months.
But a little normal seasonal fatigue, combined with the previous years long playoff run hit the Senators hard down the stretch that season, and they were an easy first-round victim of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the playoffs.
Clearly the situation was a little different there than it is in Boston. The Senators didnt actually win the Stanley Cup and there were some personality quirks on some of those Senators teams.
But Kellys lesson is clear: Dont be so intent to prove there is no Stanley Cup hangover early in the season and then leave little in the gas tank for the stretch run and playoffs.
Thats a big part of the reason why the Bruins' front office forbade their players from showing up for organized practices prior to Labor Day. The Bs want their players in good playoff position by Thanksgiving, but they know having them rested and ready come playoff time is the priority.
Paddock wanted us to come in, you know, in the best shape possible and really get off to a great start. We did that. I think we got out to a 23-3 record and won all our preseason games, but that year we barely snuck into the playoffs. I think it came down to the last game or the second last game for us to make it.
We ended up getting swept four straight in the first round. I think that was a good lesson to learn that its a long season, you know, and you don't want to peak too soon. The 82 games are in place for a reason. I think the coaching staff and management and players, we know that and know there's not going to be any easy nights for us. We want to stay focused from the first game right to the last one.
Kelly knows the hangover talk will be part of the entire post-Stanley Cup lexicon this season, and hes ready to deal with it. There will be fatigue that needs to be overcome, there will be teams looking to knock the Bruins off their top rung and there will be mass amounts of adversity as there was last season.
I think everyone's going to talk about the Stanley Cup hangover and that comes with the territory, said Kelly. That's what happens when you win. I'm sure Chicago went through it all last year. I think it's a mind-set that we're all aware of and something that you need to focus on.
You need to come to the rink each and every day and work that much harder because the rest of the teams are going to play you hard. You're a measuring stick to the rest of the league right now.
The official start to measuring stick season is Oct. 6, and it appears that Kelly among others will be ready for it.